$80 Mil. Discover Looks at 4 Shops

CHICAGO Discover Financial has winnowed the list of contenders to four finalists for creative duties on its ad account, according to a client representative.

They are: Interpublic Group shops The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., TM Advertising in Irving, Texas, and Foote Cone & Belding, Chicago, and WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in Chicago.

Estimated billings are $80 million.

Cut from contention were: IPG’s Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis and independent agencies RPA in Santa Monica, Calif., and Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago, and WPP Group’s Grey Worldwide in New York, according to sources. Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., is running the search.

The Riverwoods, Ill., client is expected to brief the four finalist agencies on an assignment next week. A decision is expected in late March, according to the company representative.

Media duties, currently at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom USA in Chicago, are not in play.

Discover, which is owned by Morgan Stanley, split with Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco last November after the agency opted to pursue creative duties on Visa USA’s $335 million account. That business was eventually awarded to Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif.

The client spent $80 million on ads in 2004 and $60 million through the first 11 months of last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.